The Business Times

Honda expanding airbag recall, could help Takata: report

Published Tue, Dec 9, 2014 · 05:15 AM

[TOKYO] Honda will expand its recall of cars fitted with Takata airbags worldwide, covering a total of 13 million vehicles, and could help the parts maker if it has financial difficulty, a report said Tuesday.

The automaker plans to widen its "investigative" recall to the entire world to determine what is wrong with airbags made by Takata, the Nikkei quoted Honda president Takanobu Ito as saying.

"If the same problem exists, we want to respond in the same way everywhere," Ito said in a recent interview with Japan's leading business paper, adding Honda cannot depend on Takata to find the cause.

Millions of vehicles produced by some of the world's biggest automakers, including Honda, Toyota and General Motors, have already been recalled due to the risk their airbags could deploy with excessive explosive power, spraying potentially-fatal shrapnel.

Ito indicated that the automaker will step in should Takata find itself in financial trouble.

"If no one else helps, we will have to do something," he reportedly said, noting that a business failure could result in an exodus of talent.

"If Takata becomes unable to supply air bags, not just Honda but all automakers will be in trouble. We will ensure Takata can keep supplying" them, Mr Ito said.

Honda is Takata's biggest customer and also a shareholder. It held 1.2 per cent of Takata's outstanding stock as of September 30.

Takata shares surged 7.8 per cent at one point in the morning before easing to sit 0.38 per cent higher at 1,308 yen by midday. Honda was down 0.34 per cent at 3,717.0 yen.

The expansion of Honda's recall would bring the total number of its automobiles affected to 13 million, the Nikkei said.

Honda has recalled or is recalling more than nine million automobiles in the United States alone.

The Nikkei said Honda's planned expansion will increase the number of affected vehicles by one million in China, Japan and elsewhere.

The bulk of the recalls are in the United States as defective airbags were mostly made in Mexico.

In the auto industry as a whole, an estimated 20 million vehicles are affected by possibly defective Takata airbags, the Nikkei said.

Honda was accused of failing to report 1,729 accidents in the United States over the past decade or so.

"We sometimes fall into the illusion that we are doing our job correctly if profits are growing," Ito told the Nikkei.


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